UPDATED: Oncolytics soars on early peek at Phase III study of cancer therapy

Shares of Oncolytics Biotech ($ONCY) jumped more than 60% this morning after the Canadian biotech revealed positive data on one endpoint from a Phase III study of its anticancer virus in patients with head and neck cancers. 

The early result doesn't spell an overall victory for the ongoing trial, but Oncolytics was nevertheless able to drum up some positive news for the program, and its stock price appears to be benefitting. Its shares were up 63.13% to $3.54 as of 11:15 a.m. ET.

Oncolytics disclosed that in 105 patients, 86% of 50 patients on its oncolytic virus Reolysin in combination with a pair of chemotherapies had tumors that had either stabilized or shrunk. This was a statistically significant improvement from the 67% of 55 patients in the control arm who achieved the same benefit.

Reolysin, Oncolytics' lead candidate, is a proprietary version of a common respiratory virus called the reovirus that has been shown in earlier studies to infect and kill cancer cells with mutations in the Ras pathway without destroying healthy cells.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first successful double-blinded randomized data from a clinical study using an intravenously-administered oncolytic virus," Dr. Brad Thompson, president and CEO of Oncolytics, said in a statement.

- here's the company's release
- see Dow Jones Newswires' report

Correction: Clarified the number of patients in the test and control arms that showed benefits in the Phase III study from Oncolytics.